Thursday, April 06, 2006


Roses and Teeth for Ludwig Wittgenstein - Matmos

Matmos is an art collective-ish band from San Francisco that makes minimal music entirely from samples. For Lipostudio, it was liposuction surgery. For their latest, Roses and Teeth, the source is Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose Lectures and Conversations was the only book on art theory I could tolerate in school.

This is a song that seems to work didacticly from the lyrics, like how in a showtune performers act out words with hands or props. But here it's done in reverse. The music itself is derived from the content of the lyrics. From the Matmos website:

The song "Roses and Teeth for Ludwig Wittgenstein" is based around a single paragraph from the his text "Philosophical Investigations". For those who would like to sing along, the text appears in part II, chapter eleven, and runs as follows:

"A new born child has no teeth." "A goose has no teeth." "A rose has no teeth." This last at any rate- one would like to say- is obviously true! It is even surer that a goose has none. - And yet it is none so clear. For where should a rose's teeth have been? The goose has none in its jaw. And neither, of course, has it any in its wings; but no one means that when he says it has no teeth.- Why, suppose one were to say: the cow chews its food and then dungs the rose with it, so the rose has teeth in the mouth of a beast. This would not be absurd, because one has no notion in advance where to look for teeth in a rose. ((Connexion with 'pain in someone else's body'.))

....In order to animate the scenario described in Wittgenstein's text, we went to a working farm in Sebastopol, California and recorded the sound of cows eating, and of cow manure being shovelled onto roses. Back at the studio, we recorded the sound of fresh roses swinging through the air, and built rhythms out of the sound of dried roses being scraped, shaken, and crushed. In order to create the crispier percussive noises, Erika Clowes loaned us her wisdom teeth (extracted and dried) and we clicked and grinded them against each other. We also sampled noises made by the teeth of cows, goats, sharks, and beavers.

2 Comments:

Blogger I Suck at My Job said...

I like your blog. It is a blog of hope for the future of one's life, while mine is a blog of despair about how much I suck.

9:30 PM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger Bernard Welt said...

Wittgenstein also said: "I can have a pain in my foot but not a pain in my shoe. Why not? My foot is in my shoe." What a card.

10:25 PM, April 07, 2006  

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